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418                               LIFE  OF
the ensuing year. William von Humboldt^s son-in-
law, Freiherr von Billow, was, in February., 1827,
appointed ambassador to London, where lie had for-
merly been only charge d'affaires, and where he
gained such celebrity for his diplomatic skill, that
he was3 in later years, raised to the post of minister
of foreign affairs. Billow's wife and children re-
mained at first in Berlin. He started alone,, and
proceeded first to Paris, from whence Alexander von
Humboldt accompanied him to London, Both men
were overwhelmed with attention by Canning, but
Alexander soon proceeded by way of Hamburg to
Berlin. William von Humboldt writes to Gentz,
in May, 1827: "Alexander "has taken up his resi-
dence here. He is more active and lively than ever,
and we often speak of you."" The brother remained
in Berlin henceforward, although he for some time
paid an annual visit to Paris, which had become his
second home.
Madame von Humboldt had been in delicate health
for some years, but the baths of Gastein had done her
much good, and the winter was spent very happily,
She determined, therefore, to visit the bath again.
Humboldt, who now felt every separation from her
painfully, accompanied her, as well as the eldest
daughter Caroline. He purposed to use the baths
himself, not for any positive complaint, for he was, on
whole,, healthy, but merely to strengthen himselú
On the 13th of July^on the way to Gastein, he
wrote to Gentz, that he wished to meet Mm there ;
but although Grentz was in the habit of visiting Gastein
every year, he could not leave Vienna before Septem-
ber, on account of business ; and as the Humboldts left
on the 24th of August, to meet their children on one of
their estates, they did not see each other. Humboldt
was much pleased with Gastein, and felt himself
strengthened by the baths.
He returned to Tegel, "but soon removed to the
town, where an especial treat awaited him., His brother
, Alexander gave a course of sixty-one lectures tltere as